The marine iguana of the Galapagos Islands. This iguana was quite comfortable posing for me.
They are big.
Note the evolved nostrils. These creatures feed off of the algae on the rocks in the ocean, able to hold their breathe for up to 30 minutes. But while they eat the ingest sea water and salt. The nostrils are specially developed to expel salt.
It is a life and death type environment, as they are cold blooded as they swim – the ocean saps the heat from their bodies weakening them. To survive, they spend hours basking in the sun, building up the warmth to go swimming again.
Charles Darwin took a step down in my mind when our guide told us that he tied one of these magnificent creatures to a rock under water to see how long it could survive. He came back an hour later and it was still alive. A reflection of the callous approach and values with regard to the world in those days.
Beautiful creature. I highly recommend watching BBC Galapagos. Great insight into the islands.
The second stage of the sales cycle was to show us how they made a carpet.
Hand woven and then burned with a torch to remove the extra silk.
An intricate process of burning (to tighten and seal the knots) and shaving. With the wool carpets he took a blade to the fibers to finish the process.
While it is all staged to facilitate the sales process just like in other places such as Murano, Italy, it was interesting to watch. The problem I have as a “tourist” is what is the right price? This vendor was pitching us rugs that ran from $5K-$12K USD. While I know silk rugs in downtown Toronto often go for that price (or more), I was instantly on the defensive. Certainly they send those to foreign markets at a fraction of the cost – so what is the right price?
In the end, that is why we did not buy. Perhaps we would have if we felt there was a compelling reason and a deal to be had due to the “buy from the source” scenario.
Being Expats our propensity to “consume” is quite low. Beside the fact that we are living in Tokyo, we have entered into a phase in our lives where we are getting rid of things – not adding. It has to be pretty special to get into our suitcase on a trip.
Our guide had scheduled a stop at a textile shop which is a collective and one that he trusts. I have a long sales background and appreciate a good selling process. Their process is all about creating that emotional tie, letting us know the background on the collective and walking us through how the carpets are made.
The selling process started with showing us how they print silk by hand. Amazing to watch.
The finished process.
Made me wish that we needed something. Carpets, their high price item, were next.